Professional basketball players dedicate much time to train for the battle.
After hours of practice, they may take some rest and hit the gym to tone their bodies better. They have built themselves to be in perfect shape when game time comes. But as disciplined as they are with their diet and their work-out regimen, an injury can dampen their career.
In the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), there were pros who never saw action in the hard court again after freak incidents. They were robbed of the opportunity to play longer even though treatment and therapy could have given lease to their careers. So here are the players that exited the PBA limelight due to injury.
After carrying the Purefoods franchise for over ten seasons, the former Letran Knight was dealt to Barangay Ginebra for J.C Intal. It was a forgetful stint for ‘The Kid’ as he only played an average of 16.6 minutes per game in 38 played. The one-time Finals MVP was dogged by a complicated knee injury since the 2013 Governor’s Cup and was looking for two treatment options. The first option is a temporary remedy while the second is a full surgery worth Php 4.5 million. He opted for the temporary treatment given that recovery from the surgery would take eight months.
However, he was traded to Meralco for Jay-R Reyes after the Bolts were eliminated by his former team San Mig Coffee. He did not sign a contract at that moment and his injury was more serious than just a bone bruise. While he was cleared to play in May 2015, he opted to retire at the age of 32. Aside from his nagging injury, he cited lack of passion to play as his reasons to end his stellar career.
Lutz showed promise when he contributed well as a rookie for the Petron Blaze Boosters. His dribbling ability is commendable while his scoring ways know no range. Give him a lane to work with and he can finish above the rim too. But since then, he was decimated by a hip injury that also caused pain in his knees, back, and foot. Though he always sought treatment, he never reverted to his rookie form.
The San Miguel Beermen then decided to place him as an Unrestricted Free Agent with right to salary even though he is still under contract for a year. Lutz was eventually signed by the Meralco Bolts and was originally poised to return during the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup. After five seasons, he never set foot in a PBA game again and the chances of him coming back are up in the air.
Perhaps this is the most infamous career-ending injury in PBA history for it happened too fast. In a May 2006 game against Red Bull, Tejada chased a missed Roger Yap attempt before falling to the Ynares Center floor. However, Mick Pennisi landed at the back of his neck as he was about to get up. In Tejada’s own words, he felt an electric shock going through his body and he can’t hear his voice clearly.
He laid motionless on the hard court for about half an hour before the delayed ambulance came due to a recent typhoon. It was later revealed that he stretched his spinal cord due to the dislocation of the C-5 and C-6 vertebrae. While his PBA career came to an abrupt end, his road to recovery is an inspirational story. From not feeling anything in his legs months after an injury, he pushed himself in therapy to be able to walk on his two feet again.